Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Stroke Health Center

Font Size

Your Stroke Risk Can Drop With 7 Lifestyle Changes

Controlling blood pressure is most important, large U.S. study found

WebMD News from HealthDay

By Robert Preidt

HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, June 6 (HealthDay News) -- Certain lifestyle changes could greatly reduce your stroke risk, according to a new study.

Researchers calculated stroke risk among nearly 23,000 black and white Americans aged 45 and older. Their risk was assessed using the American Heart Association's Life's Simple 7 health factors: be active, control cholesterol, eat a healthy diet, manage blood pressure, maintain a healthy weight, control blood sugar and don't smoke.

During five years of follow-up, 432 strokes occurred among the participants. All seven factors played an important role in predicting stroke risk, but blood pressure was the most important, according to the study, which was published June 6 in the journal Stroke.

"Compared to those with poor blood pressure status, those who were ideal had a 60 percent lower risk of future stroke," study senior author Dr. Mary Cushman, a professor of medicine at the University of Vermont in Burlington, said in a journal news release.

Cushman and her colleagues also found that people who didn't smoke or quit smoking more than a year before the start of the study had a 40 percent lower stroke risk.

For the study, the researchers categorized the participants' Life's Simple 7 scores as inadequate (zero to four points), average (five to nine points) or optimum (10 to 14 points). Every one-point increase was associated with an 8 percent lower stroke risk. People with optimum scores had a 48 percent lower risk than those with inadequate scores, and those with average scores had a 27 percent lower risk.

Overall, blacks had lower scores than whites, but the association between scores and stroke risk was similar for blacks and whites.

"This highlights the critical importance of improving these health factors since blacks have nearly twice the stroke mortality rates as whites," Cushman said.

Each year, about 795,000 people in the United States have a stroke, which is the No. 4 killer and a leading cause of long-term disability in the country, according to the American Heart Association.

Today on WebMD

brain illustration stroke
Know these 5 signs.
brain scans
Test your stroke smarts.
woman with migraine
Is there a link?
brain scan
Get the facts.
brain scans
woman with migraine
brain scan
senior man stretching pre workout
Floor level view of therapist helping stroke patie
concerned woman
Lowering Cholesterol Slideshow